Family, friends, teachers, administrators and supporters filled the second floor of the Labor Temple for Tuesday’s first-ever Rose School graduation ceremony.
“I’m really humbled and blown away by the turnout already,” Rose School Principal Randal Olsen said. “We had talked about this being a long-term ceremony space, something with tradition. In a good way, I am concerned about the size.”
It was the first-ever graduation for Rose School, which included Connections Learning and the ACES General Education Diploma program.
Olsen and Jessica Monday, online learning coordinator, had been organizing the events for several months and on the morning of the celebration the freshmen, sophomores and juniors decorated the space with posters and ribbons.
“Commencement means to begin or to start,” Monday said. “Although we mark this as a conclusion of your high school career, this is where the next leg of your journey begins. As you reflect I hope you see the beautiful foundation you’ve laid for yourself.”
School board member Howard Johnson was selected as the speaker, because of his involvement with the school.
“You parents came out to support your children and so did I,” Johnson said.
Johnson left the graduates with some advise he had received, “My father told me that if I ever wanted to succeed in business, to give it as much effort in the business as I was in trying to have intimate relationships.”
His father left him with more nuggets of wisdom, some of which he shared with the graduating class. Including that a good poker player is one who knows how to play when they’re dealt a bad hand.
“You had some hands dealt to you that were not the best, but you’ve persevered and I’m proud of you,” he told the graduates of the alternative education school. “What you acquired today is yours to keep forever, no one can steal it like a car, clothes or money. It’s yours, use it don’t be ashamed of it.”
On Tuesday, 12 graduates received their diplomas during the ceremony and received a standing ovation afterwards. There were 15 total graduates, but three were unable to attend the ceremony.
Each graduate was introduced, and some of their thoughts on graduation were shared as well as advice for the younger students, while photos of them were displayed.
“A huge chapter of my life is ending, but in doing so it’s making room for a bigger and better one still to come,” Rachael Harvey said. Harvey was one of five Connections Learning graduates.
Heather Nadey, one of the five Rose School graduates, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Kiwanis Club to further her education.
There were five students who received their GED.
Jemalee Fischer, Geneice Shaffer and Jazlyn White thanked the faculty and their families for their continue support during the ceremony.
“As you got throughout today and the rest of the week, you’re going to get a lot of congratulations. A lot of people telling you how proud they are. Really listen. Really absorb that. Really know that that’s true,” Olsen said. “I’m super proud of all of you.”